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Mother of triple-murder suspect Douglas Garland says son was an intelligent but unhappy man

Douglas Garland’s family testifies on day two of triple homicide trial
WATCH ABOVE: The family of accused triple murderer Douglas Garland took the stand on Tuesday in day 2 of the trial. Global’s Nancy Hixt has the details.

WARNING: This article contains graphic content that some readers might find disturbing.

The mother of accused triple murderer Douglas Garland told a Calgary court Tuesday that she was “shocked” when she saw the Amber Alert on the news on June 30, 2014 and immediately went to talk to her son about it.

Doreen Garland said her son Douglas told her, “I don’t want to talk about the Likneses.”

“It was just a real shock,” she said in day two of the high profile jury trial.

Garland, 56, is charged with three counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of five-year-old Nathan O’Brien and his grandparents, Alvin and Kathy Liknes. He pleaded not guilty on all counts.

Doreen described her son as an intelligent but unhappy man. She testified that he obtained a degree in science and also attended medical school, but later dropped out because of a breakdown.

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“He’s my son I love him — I’ve always loved him,” she said on the witness stand.

Both of Garland’s parents testified in the second day of the trial.

Archie Garland confirmed his son Douglas worked with Alvin Liknes on a pump at the farm.

Archie said Douglas had complained that Liknes didn’t pay him for his work, adding, “that didn’t sit too well with Doug.”

Archie testified that he was very sick with an abscessed tooth back on June 29 and 30, 2014 and was in bed on painkillers.

“I was fairly sick and my throat was swollen shut,” he said.

Court heard that every Monday morning the accused would see his psychiatrist in Calgary, but missed the weekly appointment on the day the victims disappeared.

Both parents confirmed they used a burn barrel to dispose of garbage on the farm, and it was usually Doug who took care of that task.

The trial also heard testimony from Douglas Garland’s sister.

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Patti Garland testified she recognized her brother’s truck, based on a photo police released during the Amber Alert.

Court also heard that every Monday, the accused would see his psychiatrist in Calgary, but on the day the victims disappeared he missed his appointment.

On Monday, the Crown presented a lengthy opening statement to the jury, outlining its case.

“The bodies of Alvin, Kathy and five-year-old Nathan were never recovered,” prosecutor Vicki Faulkner said. “The three individuals were violently removed from their beds and taken to the Garland farm and killed. Their bodies burned in a large burn barrel with only tiny fragments of their bodies left for police to discover,” she said.

The Crown’s theory is Garland held a “petty grudge” against Alvin over a patent that Alvin filed for a pump that Garland did some work on.

“A pump that never made any real money; a pump that didn’t make anyone famous,” Faulkner said.

Patti Garland, Douglas Garland’s sister, is scheduled to testify Tuesday afternoon once Doreen finishes her testimony.

READ MORE: Nathan O’Brien’s mother at Douglas Garland trial: ‘My family’s been murdered’

Nathan’s mother, Jennifer O’Brien, was the first to testify after the Crown’s opening remarks Monday. She told court she had taken her boys to see their grandparents at the Liknes’ home, where they were having an estate sale on June 29, 2014. She ended up going home with her younger son and leaving Nathan there.

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The next day she went to pick him up, she described the house as a “bloody scene.”

TIMELINE: Missing Calgary family Nathan O’Brien, Alvin and Kathryn Liknes

“Pools of blood on the bed and walls and throughout the kitchen,” Jennifer told court, explaining she searched the house then called her husband.

“I said, ‘my family has been murdered and he’s taken the bodies.’”

Watch below: Nathan O’Brien’s mother faced the man accused of killing the five-year-old boy and his grandparents in Calgary court Monday. Global’s Nancy Hixt describes the testimony and explains the Crown’s case against Douglas Garland. Warning: Graphic content. Discretion is advised.

Nathan O’Brien’s mother at Douglas Garland trial: ‘My family’s been murdered’
Nathan O’Brien’s mother at Douglas Garland trial: ‘My family’s been murdered’

The trial is scheduled for five weeks with 11 men and three women on the jury, including two alternates. An estimated 50 witnesses will testify during the trial.